highlights and main attractions of isalo national park

Nestled amidst the southwest terrains of sweeping canyons, dramatic bluffs and jutting rock formations, the Isalo National Park offers some rewarding trekking opportunities amongst natural pools and through uniquely Jurassic landscapes. 

Gradually sculpted through the years by wind and water, Isalo’s topography is a dazzling jigsaw of fanciful shapes and ridges known as ‘runiformes’.

where is isalo national park?

flora, fauna and trails

The park was established in 1962 and is popular with trekkers who enjoy the agreeably warm climate, diverse colours of the scenery and some of the natural attractions you come across on the various circuits. Monkey Canyon is accessed through the dense forest shrub-land, a wonderful ravine that runs through the massif, where it is sometimes possible to see the unusual gait of the sifakas as they dance sideways along the ground, as well as ring-tailed lemurs leaping through the trees. It is possible to combine a visit to Monkey Canyon with the natural pools, and as the heat from the canyon builds, the green and inviting pools provide the perfect opportunity to cool off after a challenging hike. The Namaza circuit is another trek that can combine with the natural pools; it passes through an unusually formed canyon, past a waterfall and amongst lots of impressive flora.  

Although the range of wildlife may be less extensive than other areas of Madagascar, it is nonetheless possible to see up to 14 types of nocturnal lemur, as well as brown lemur, acrobatic Verreaux’s sifaka and ring-tailed lemur, as well as many reptiles and frogs. There is in excess of 80 bird species that live in the park, with lots found around the Canyon des Nymphes area. 

The fauna is surpassed here by the flora, which boasts some endemic species such as elephant’s foot, aloe and various palms amongst its 500 plus total species.

There are two main accommodation options within the area, Le Relais de la Reine and Jardin du Roy, both of which are sublimely comfortable lodges set in the heart of the spectacular rock formations. The park itself is accessed 700 kilometres southwest of Antananarivo and covers an expanse of 815 kilometres. 

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